Sunday, March 2, 2008

Broccoli Trees and Purple Cabbages

Raised Bed Garden in Winter

Today I spent most of my day in one of my vegetable gardens. My biggest raised bed vegetable garden to be exact. It’s a 16 x 8 foot raised bed that my partner Jack and I built about 9 years ago out of redwood boards, salvaged grape stakes and lots of chicken wire. It has actually been rebuilt since then, but that’s a story for another day.

Anyway, as you can see from the photo above, my garden was a mess! Mostly due to my own neglect, but also just because it is winter time. So I spent my day today pulling out the plants that remained from last season, which consisted of overgrown broccoli “trees” and some odd looking purple cabbages. I gathered whatever looked humanly edible into my harvest basket, brought it inside and let it soak in some cool water to remove any soil, dust or possible bugs. I plan to go into my kitchen and turn the broccoli and some of the cabbage into a veggie stir fry dinner as soon as I finish posting this blog entry.

The rest of the vegetation consisted of full blooming yellow broccoli flowers, some grungy looking broccoli and cabbage leaves and their overgrown and very fibrous hard stems and roots. The flowers and some of the leaves became snacks for my hens to munch on all afternoon, and the rest became contributions to my garden compost pile. I really enjoy that there is no waste. Everything gets used for a productive purpose.

So you see the “before” picture above with the broccoli trees, but I didn’t take an “after” shot because it would have been too boring. It looks like a raised bed filled with garden soil and some green weeds now. Not very exciting.

I’ll write more about building and using my raised bed gardens some other day. They work really well around here to grow veggies in and to keep the critters out.

Now, off to my kitchen to make that stir fry dinner…I am hungry after all of that work!

© Copyright 2008 Mountain Harvest Basket


Farmgirl_dk: said...

Wow - from the height of that fencing around your garden bed, I'm guessing that deer, even possibly elk, pay frequent visits to your area?

I really want to plant a garden this year, but the garden patch (maybe a bit bigger than your raised bed) that I want to use is completely open. So open, in fact, that it's not worth the effort to plant it unless I take the time to fence it in...between the deer, the elk, the rabbits and the racoon..they will have a feast unless I erect about an 8' barrier between them and my growing green stuff. Sigh...another project that I have *no* experience with - I don't even know where to start!

How'd your stirfry turn out?

Farmer Jen said...

Hi Danni,

The stir fry turned out very tasty. Funny that you asked, I snapped a photo of it cooking in the skillet thinking that I may post it in my blog later. See the additional post for today for the photo.

We have no elk here but we definitely have plenty of deer. Also rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, birds, gophers etc. They all like to eat the vegetables, fruit and some flowers too. Our deer can jump quite high, so a 7-8 ft fence is usually required to keep them out.

I have two main garden areas that are fenced. They both have raised beds, but are of two different designs. The one in the photo is a large raised bed with wood & chicken wire removable panels attached to the bed frame. I open a panel to get inside to work in the garden and then close it when I am done to keep the deer and rabbits out. The garden has wire mesh under the soil to keep the gophers from coming in from the bottom.

Gardening in a forested area can definitely be a challenge, but please don't let it overwhelm you. You will do fine! Just start small at first and your knowledge will grow as your garden grows. You'd be surprised at the large quantity of veggies that you can harvest from a small garden space, especially a raised bed. One year I got 96 pounds of tomatoes(plus a lot of other veggies)from that same raised bed that you see in the photo.

The raised bed is good for critter control and it also holds the good soil and compost in place so that the irrigation and the rains don't wash it all away. It also raises the plants up from the ground a bit so they are easier for the gardener to reach them without bending over so far.

I can recommend many good gardening books. Justlet me know that you are interested. My gardens are grown organically (not certified, but still organic)with no chemicals and usually from organic seed when I can get it.

I love my garden! It can be a lot of work sometimes, but the rewards are wonderful. It feeds my soul as as well as my body.

Start small Danni, but do grow a garden . Even if it's just a couple of tomato plants in a 1/2 wine barrel with some chicken wire around it.

Hardware Bob said...

You reminded me that I have some preparation work due on my own little garden along the fence.

I'll need some help from the expert again to plan my garden, hopefully you can work me in and advise me.

I noticed the robins are everywhere this morning, a strong sense of Springtime is in the air, and I believe a family is now using my bird house. This is my favorite time of the year.

I enjoyed your posting on the garden and yummy looking stir fry. Looks like I'll be pulling weeds this week.